In most science fiction, technological advances are not shown to advance humanity. However, it would be tough to find a more negative view of a future world than The 5th Wave, which chronicles an alien attack on our weak and vulnerable planet. Depressing as it is, the story raises some vital questions about humanity, […]
As we were saying last Saturday . . . you just can’t predict what the Newbery committee is going to do. Trends have been toward diversity, disability, and difficulty; books that show children in adverse, even desperate circumstances often get Newbery nods. (That’s why I was so sure The Thing about Jellyfish would be on […]
One of the high school classes I teach is devoted to helping students become discerning readers. Modern young adult fiction can be a minefield of conflicting worldviews, confusing messages, and the subtle (or not so subtle) push for readers to blindly accept the stories they read with little or no hesitation. We spend a good […]
As a teacher, I’ve had various conversations with parents about how to get their children engaged in reading. The flip side of that conversation comes when a student is interested in reading, but won’t venture outside a specific genre. Now, at first, this might not seem like a concern. If the student is reading, isn’t […]
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2009. 352 pages Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Ages 16-up Bottom Line: A problematic retelling of a Nordic fairy tale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” which explores the story of a nameless young woman and an ice bear […]
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman. Random House, 2015. 610 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 15-18 Bottom Line: Seraphina, a half-dragon, half-human ityasaari, is desperately trying to rally her fellow ityasaari to the aid of her country, Goredd, but must first face her own personal nemesis. Three years ago, a debut fantasy novel about a young […]
The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Pope. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001. 272 pages Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Maturity Level: 5 (ages 12-14) and up Bottom Line: In this classic YA novel originally published in 1958, four ghosts from Revolutionary War days teach a lonely young woman about romance. Peggy Grahame, latest in an unbroken […]
Keeping Your Cool: A Teen’s Survival Guide by Lou Priolo. P&R, 2014 (new edition). 251 pages, including appendices. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Maturity Level: 5 (ages 12-14) and up Bottom Line: Keeping Your Cool effectively shows teens how to curb their anger and form godly responses to the frustrations of parental control. “Are […]
First Date (Dating Games #1) by Melody Carlson. Revell, 2013. 212 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Maturity Level: 6 (ages 15-18) Bottom Line: The first volume in the Dating Games series by Melody Carlson has fun with the burning issue of dating and Christian girls but feels underdeveloped in some areas. It was […]
Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire. Candlewick, 2014. 496 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-14 Maturity Level: 5 (ages 12-15) and up Bottom Line: Egg and Spoon casts itself as historical legend, making rich use of centuries of Russian heritage, but passes over the most profound heritage of all. Life can’t get much worse […]
The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp. Tor, 2014. 295 pages. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Maturity Level: 5 (ages 12-14) and up Bottom Line: The Accidental Highwayman plunges the reader into 18th-century Britain on a wild, fun ride through its magical subtext. Here’s the subtitle: Being the Tale of KIT BRISTOL, His Horse MIDNIGHT, […]
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